Venice: The mayor of Venice has warned that anybody who shouts “Allahu Akbar” or “God is great” in Arabic, in the city’s St Mark’s Square will be shotwithin four steps.
Addressing a conference, Luigi Brugnaro boasted that Venice was safer than Barcelona, where recently 13 people were killed in a terrorist attack.
“In contrast with Barcelona, where they had not set up protection, we keep our guard up. If anyone runs into St Mark’s Square shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar‘, we will take him down. A year ago I said after four steps, now after three. I will say it in Venetian: ‘Ghe Sparemo’ (We will shoot him),” The Times quoted Brugnaro as saying.
However, his threat was not taken very seriously and later made him the butt of a joke at the conference he was attending.
Italy has the fourth-largest Muslim population in Europe, according to a 2016 Pew Research survey. It is home to 2.2 million Muslims.
Taking a jibe at the mayor of Venice, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella, rushed up to Brugnaro shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and started laughing but he later apologized saying that his intention was not to offend anyone particularly the Muslim community.
“It was not my intention to offend anybody, least of all the Muslim community. I did not intend to joke about their religion, nor evoke the tragic events of recent days,” he wrote on Facebook.
But unlike Nardella, Venice‘s mayor stick to his words, “I have never been politically correct, I am incorrect. I would shoot, we would shoot . . . if you want to kill me, maybe I will defend myself,” he said.
This is not the first time Brugnaro has created a controversy by saying something.
Brugnaro had removed 49 books about same-sex relationships from Venetian schools shortly after he became mayor two years ago.
His decision prompted more than 250 Italian authors to demand that he take their books away as well.
Brugnaro had said in 2015 that he would ban gay pride processions from Venice, calling them “buffoonery, the height of kitsch.”
With ANI inputs